Date: February 26, 2019

Photo by John-Mark Smith from Pexels

Of the children diagnosed with autism, scientists predict that 20-30% of them will be unable to communicate their wants, needs and thoughts verbally. While technology is currently used to help assist these children with communication and accessibility in places like the classroom, it’s being developed at such a rapid rate that it can now be used in the home and in public spaces. Because kids with autism need more alone time than other kids to de-stress and decompress from things like a changed schedule or a lot of stimulation, technology like this provides them with the right kind of space in which to do so.

More Than Assistive Technology
While advancements in school curriculum and technology are significant there’s more to life than being in a classroom. Recent developments have made it possible for families with children who are autistic to truly help integrate kids into everyday life, while helping them manage their physical and emotional reactions. Industries are currently using this kind of technology to assist people with limited mobility to monitor their health with wearable tech nology. Such technologies increase the functionalities of smart homes making it possible for people with limited mobility to live independently at home without fear or worry. Therapy robots, for example, are fun toys that use smart technology to help increase the social skills of children on the spectrum. Autism bracelets and other wearable types of smart tech help monitor a child’s emotions to prevent or warn of an upcoming behavioral occurrence.

Increasing Access to Social Spaces
Public and governmental institutions are increasingly adapting their spaces to be more accessible by those with disabilities. Part of those initiatives includes a focus on sensory-friendly exhibits. The Smithsonian, for example, has worked to cultivate autism-friendly spaces where lights are dimmed, and the amount of sensory information is reduced to ensure that all children can enjoy the museum. Smart technology can play a role in this, as 3D interactive panels have become popular in the design sector. While they add a unique design aspect, these panels also allow individuals and public entities such as museums to incorporate a stunning arrangement of light and shadow into any space. Interestingly, smart technology like this has been shown to potentially benefit those with sensory conditions such as autism.

A Future of Inclusivity
There’s no doubt that smart technology makes life easier for everybody who uses it. When it comes to children with autism, it can unlock access to a world in which they are able to freely express themselves and enjoy public spaces without feeling overwhelmed. As technology continues to advance, and people continue to understand how to make smart tech work to their benefit, they will be able to find unique ways to make it work for children with autism. Whether they’re wearing a special wristband that helps them stay calm, learning how to interact socially with the help of a robot or enjoying a special day out at a museum with sensory-sensitive wall panels, the future for children with autism is bright… and it’s all-inclusive.